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[Weekender] Bitfinder, SinglePet seek to develop game-changing gadgets

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Published : 2014-05-09 21:49
Updated : 2014-05-09 21:49

As was seen in the dot-com industry, venture entrepreneurship has been the key to creating not only new technologies but also new industries and values that can forever reshape conventional markets.

Start-ups will be called upon again to develop an entirely new market where every physical object can connect to the Internet.

With the Internet of Things gaining momentum, ventures such as Bitfinder and SinglePet are seeking to come out with their own connected innovative products and services that hope to stand out against common wearables and home appliances made by conglomerates.

Cupertino, California-based Bitfinder is developing a smart product that uses microclimate data to “assist and coach” consumers to live a healthy lifestyle.

With sensors deployed in the product, whose prototype is the size of a portable USB flash drive or smaller, it will be able to recommend and suggest to the user, for instance, to walk more, ride bikes, take vitamins or put on UV protection cream according to the weather conditions.

“It is not a medical device, but a ‘behavioral coach’ that can make real-time suggestions via Web or mobile to improve one’s lifestyle,” said Ronald Ro, CEO & founder of Bitfinder.
Ronald Ro, Bitfinder CEO

“It will be like a personal Nest product.”

Nest Labs, which was acquired by Google, produces connected thermostats that can be calibrated and adjusted based on consumer behavior.

Bitfinder has already attracted attention from Chester Roh, renowned Korean serial entrepreneur, as an investor. It is currently fine-tuning its design for the product can be clipped to either one’s bag or clothes for launch by Christmas.

SinglePet is another venture that seeks to offer a different service for pets amid the increasing population of singles and working couples living with puppies.
SinglePet founders (from left) CEO John Park, CTO Lee Kwang-woo and CMO Lynn Jeon
SinglePet products help dog owners keep track of their pets’ needs (SinglePet)

Its sensor-driven feeder device with cameras connected to wireless networks can be remotely controlled via smartphones to feed and watch over pets at home while their owners are away at work.

The sensors can detect and analyze whether the product has enough dog food, and if not, the product will guide and recommend users to various online stores for purchase.

The Korean start-up said it plans to further develop its sensors to provide data services through the product.

“It will be able to, for instance, suggest to owners to wash their pets when sensors detect they are dirty or to take them for a walk,” said Lynn Jeon, chief marketing officer and cofounder of SinglePet.

It plans to introduce the product in the U.S. where the pet market is 24 times bigger than Korea’s annual 2 trillion won ($2 billion) market, Jeon said. Japan is seven times larger than Korea.

There are some 10 million Koreans raising pets, according to Gallup Korea.

By Park Hyong-ki (hkp@heraldcorp.com)

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